The Italian version of Simon Cowell’s singing contest The X Factor has scrapped gender and age categories for performers for the first time in the show’s 17-year history.
When the Fremantle and Syco show returns to Comcast-owned Sky Italia in September, contestants will be divided into “heterogeneous” teams and will be mentored by one of the four judges: Emma, Hell Raton, Manuel Agnelli, and Mika. Each judge must have at least one soloist and one band on their team.
Antonella d’Errico, executive vice president of programming at Sky Italia, said: “By removing the historical division by categories, X Factor welcomes change and wants to become a torchbearer and, in a world that no longer needs to make distinctions of gender or age, talent is for us a neutral noun. We will ask all the contestants of this year’s edition to bring the only thing they really need: their personal, unique X Factor.”
Fremantle Italy CEO Gabriele Immirzi added: “We are in fact the first X Factor in the world to change a historic and characterizing element of the format that today, in 2021, according with Syco Entertainment, we feel is not up-to-date with the reality of everyday life, especially the life of the generations who participate in X Factor. We want to support the growth of music talents without labels and distinctions other than the value and artistic quality of their projects.”
The X Factor first launched in the UK in 2004 and has traditionally divided contestants into four groups by gender, age, and whether they perform alone or are in a band.